θ History Section for [livejournal.com profile] gauntlet_rpg

Mar. 4th, 2010 11:30 am
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His beginnings and past lives
Current incarnation's recent history <--Only up to The Next Doctor. His canon point is between that and Planet of the Dead.

However, it's from the point a few months after he left Donna Noble in the care of her granddad and mother (after he had to suppress every memory involving him, the TARDIS, and all their adventures together) that he found himself on the IASC Crucible. He was the first of a few passengers on the ship that would eventually house hundreds of people from countless different universes, and even a few old friends from his own universe. No one knew how they got there, however, their minds having been erased of that particular moment in time--and his was of no exception, much to his annoyance. He was also left without his TARDIS and that certainly didn't make him any happier. Any time that he wasn't chatting his fellow passengers up, or weathering yet another fun ship-wide effect, like being turned into a child for a few days, getting trapped in the Enviro-dome, or any other number of things that happened to him throughout the first three-month cycle, he was always searching for his TARDIS, convinced she was there somewhere. He also searched for a way to reach the first level and the bridge so he could take control of the ship from Ganymede, who was steadily growing madder with each announcement he made, and eventually tried to kill them all. Fun times for all.

It was during the beginning of the first cycle, though, that he met a companion he hadn't seen in literally hundreds of years. Oliver Day travelled with him back when he was in his fourth incarnation, and they didn't exactly part under the best of terms. However! The ship provided them the chance to get better reacquainted--helped by the fact that Oliver's memories weren't quite up to snuff and he only remembered a certain part of their journey together--and they became close friends again. The dynamic between them felt different than it had before, but then again, he was a different man back then. The Doctor became more like that cool uncle who was very close in age to the nephew (only not, since Oliver's life span is barely a blip compared to his) rather than that weird uncle who gave all the kids sweets at family reunions. The change in dynamic, however, was evident in his treatment of Oliver. The loss of Donna affected him more than he'd ever really admit--or rather allow himself to acknowledge--and he sought to protect Oliver, as well as every person he'd become acquainted with and had yet to meet. It, unfortunately, led to many arguments between the pair--not only during the first cycle, but for the entirety of their stay there--and in spite of that, they still remained friends.

Another companion he met during this time was a Time Lady version of his TARDIS, but he couldn't feel the mental link he should have felt with her. They conceded the cause was the ship itself, as it was the source for much of their misery during their tenure there. Again, however, with her in a body made of agitated protoplasm that could walk and talk, he was finally able to have proper adventures with her that they'd never been able to have before! He could introduce her to all the wonderful things a new place had to offer, like the local delicacies and all the sights, sounds, smells--everything--instead of merely describing them for her. And dancing. Oh, there was dancing.

Over the course of the first three months, the Crucible fell into an increasingly derelict state, first with all the shops on Level 15 suddenly shutting down and exhibiting signs of neglect and suspicious dark stains that may or may not have been old blood, and eventually, all hell broke loose. The transportation pads broke down, spatial anomalies plagued the hallways--trapping some, including him and Oliver, in a winterised Enviro-dome while those outside it were subjected to random bomb blasts throughout the ship, and eventually life support failed in the passenger quarters, forcing them to either hang out in the Enviro-dome (after packs of wild animals disappeared and ceased their attacks on passengers). Life support failed near the end of the three months and it was by this point that all the levels of the ship were open to them. In the crew quarters on Levels 3 and 4, he and the rest of the passengers finally found evidence of something horrible that had happened on the ship in the past. Blood and debris was everywhere and on one wall was a message warning them all that "He" was going to kill them, that "He" was a murderer. It wouldn't be the last time that some nefarious deeds were associated with Level 3, as they would discover later on. However, they didn't have much time before it was revealed to them that the Crucible was headed straight for a black hole. He might've been able to repair them with help from the TARDIS, but all the systems were completely destroyed. Nothing was salvageable.

And Ganymede was dead, and had been for some time. A knife had been stuck in his back. So who the hell had communicated with them before? Not that he ever spoke back to them outside of his announcements. He did once, but only answered their queries with answers that made no sense. Unfortunately, the Doctor and TARDIS were unable to stop the ship from its course into the black hole...

But they woke up together back in his rooms, just as he had when he first arrived, only the TARDIS was on the bed with him, now occupying his room, which was quite the change-up from their normal routine before arriving on the Crucible. And thus began the second cycle! The ship was restored to its proper state as if nothing had happened and Ganymede was alive! What madness! To make it worse, no one had any recollection of the black hole, not even him. Some force was powerful enough to edit even his memories like that.

For a couple weeks, life progressed on the ship...quite peacefully actually, and only once did they lose gravity in the ship did their troubles truly begin. The Doctor created a special sort of shoe insert that, by the power of science and ingenuity of a kind special to him, made its wearer able to stick to practically any surface, but there was a catch to them--only one foot could be down at a time, and if both feet were put down, it would propel the wearer up into the air. How high was proportionate to the force of the second foot's impact with the ground. However, he later worked out this little quirk just in time for...

...The ship to list to the left, entering into a nearby planet's gravity, and crashed into its surface! Poor Crucible. Thankfully, the only person hurt was, well, Ganymede. He kinda died from being in the sections that were crushed upon impact. Bad luck there.

Luckily, the planet they crash-landed, named Eos, was somewhat hospitable, offering them with several varieties of animal life for food--you name it, you could have a frog-rat, frog-fish, even a frog-frog!--and obligingly green water that was surprisingly safe to drink Lucky for them. Actually, there was a whole hell of a lot of green, only broken by a vast field of red flowers, as he and the TARDIS quickly came to realise when they ventured out of the ship, but this was their first ever new planet together, as neither of them had ever heard of Eos before, so they explored, made flower chain crowns, and had a grand ole time!

Unfortunately for them, even with the ship crashed, more people turned up on the beach--and worst of all, the anomalies that plagued them before, like the sudden loss of gravity before the ship crashed, continued while on the planet's surface. After the loss of inhibitions, which affected people in varying degrees for some reason, and the Doctor divulged some parts of his past that he didn't normally offer in casual conversation, an anomaly involving a gender/sex switch occurred, and the Doctor had to deal with a now-female Oliver. Only...this Oliver was Olivia and possessed slightly different memories of their time together, and the anomaly affected him slightly different, instigating an attraction for his companion that he never felt before. He decided that it was best for them both that they stayed away from each other before they both did something that they'd regret, and he took this a step further by avoiding her for the entire week she existed, but he watched her from afar, seeing that while she was Oliver, she was a slightly different person, one who was unafraid of things that crippled Oliver, and he'd later use these observations to help Oliver once he'd returned to normal. Only later after Olivia had left did he receive a message from her that broke his heart. But such was life and he stored that small pain away with the rest. After all, he had other things to handle.

With the rains that washed away the red flower's pollen--the ultimate culprits of recent physical changes--came Commander Orion. After one of his fellow passengers managed to flag down his ship, Orion later took away Amaterasu to check her for any supposed diseases that might've been infected them. However, while they did their studies, he and the rest of the passengers quickly descended into madness, paranoia striking them in different ways. Some hallucinated ghosts from their past. He fought it as much as he could, trying to keep a level head--he had to keep his friends safe!--and he noticed that a team was sent into the Crucible itself, and later would learn that they were headed for Level 3. But eventually, he too was overcome by the madness. He imagined that his people were there, always shouting for him, countless of others calling his name, and to quiet them, he decided he'd try saving his fellow passengers. What happened in one night was his one-man reign of deception and terror wherein he trapped friends and acquaintances alike, drugging them with medical supplies he'd taken from the ruined ship before all the entrances sealed themselves under their own weight, and invading their minds, learning intimate details about them, all so he could see if they had any memory of who might have brought them there. Sadly, not a single one of them did. And during this, he fought with Oliver, who believed himself to be possessed by the brain parasite known as the Puppeteer. In his anger, the Doctor tied Oliver to a tree and left him for a few days until the paranoia suddenly left them. The anomaly had so easily undone all the progress he'd made, though. He had to ease Oliver into re-agreeing to travel with him with the promise that if Oliver had a turn and really did start harming people, the Doctor would stop him again, for good. It was a promise he hoped he'd never had to make. But still, they found time to heal and forgive each other for what had happened, and admittedly, the Doctor avoided a few people he'd tried to "save" and even got a good walloping from Lara Croft for doing it, but turn the other cheek, and soon relations were soon restored somewhat to normal. He had more important things to attend to anyway, and those helped distract him and eventually put the events out of his mind.

Orion and his ship arrived a couple times during the latter half of this particular three-month cycle, and each time his promises to help them were broken and amended. He wanted to get them all off, but then he'd come back and say he'd have to take them in batches, and eventually down to only room for only twelve of them. This last promise came during a time when, after belongings began to go missing, holes began to appear at random all over the planet. But ohhh, if these were just any old holes... These ones were dangerous, as he'd learnt after slipping in the mud. His hand came in contact with a hole and there went his hand. Ironically enough, it was his left this time. He'd seen a friend, Riku, accidentally fall into a hole and turn up a day later, so he hid his injury for a day, not wanting to alarm his friends, in hopes that his hand would respawn. But it didn't. Curiosity got the better of him, and he'd be damned if he was going to leave Eos without his hand, so, after leaving a message for his friends on his Sphere, he jumped into the same hole that consumed his hand. This action kind of upset his friends, to say the very least, as he discovered a day later when he woke up with both hands intact. His TARDIS was quite distressed for leaving her behind. It only showed him that while he was thrilled at having her in that particular body, he still had found ways to selfishly abandon her as he normally did. It was something he still had to learn and would improve as time passed.

Riku would not be the only friend he'd see 'die' in the holes. Oliver suffered an awful death when a hole appeared beneath him while he slept one morning, taking a neat circular chunk out of his body. The Doctor couldn't help him. It happened too fast. He had to watch his friend die, one he'd finally come to ask aboard the TARDIS again, a move he never thought he'd consider again, and hoped that in a day's time Oliver would come back to life, the one merciful anomaly the planet offered them. And he did, just in time for Orion to arrive in a different ship than the one he'd previously used, and he alone was the only person on-board. This was when he made the offer for only twelve people to make it out alive, but unfortunately for them all, the ship's controls were isomorphic in nature and only Orion could pilot the ship. Sure, he tried as hard as he could to bypass the circuits, but much to his disgrace and frustration, he was unable to. He briefly joined the search for Orion, who'd somehow found a way into the Crucible for something, but he later left to desperately work on the ship's controls so he could at least save someone.

And why the frantic attempts? Well, because of another black hole. Whether it was the same one or not, he didn't know, but it's presence there was the reason things began disappearing, and the holes began cutting up the land. The majority of passengers who entered the ship to search for Orion never came back out as they were swallowed up by the black hole appearing in the rooms in which they searched. What it ultimately amounted to was another failure for him. People continued to die and all trust he'd placed in Orion was gradually lost with each appearance and reneged promise.

Soon enough, though, he found himself yet again lying beside the TARDIS back in their rooms, with Ganymede's cheery voice greeting them and apologising for the maintenance work going on (aka, cycle three, start!). The Doctor, while pleased that nobody had truly died, was not happy that he was still on the ship. While a slew of different visual anomalies plagued them, starting innocent enough as things did in the previous two cycles, he redoubled his efforts to reach Level 1, and the equally important (if not more) Level 3. Memory of the two black holes were yet again gone from his mind, and he was more determined than ever to stop Ganymede and the ship before anything like Eos could happen again. He simply refused to abide all that death again! The ship, however, had different plans, the fickle thing, and continued to remain deadlocked sealed, refusing to allow anybody beyond Level 12. Rather than open up the lower decks, additional levels appeared after the passenger ones, in the form of holo-suites, a fun new feature for the entire family!

Then, from out of the blue, Orion returned! Well, sort of. He hijacked a transmission during one of Ganymede's (after he'd repaired the ship's visual anomalies, wherein, amongst other things, it made the Doctor look as though he wore a lolita outfit (don't ask)) and sent them on a search for a pulse package containing codes that may help them to allow Orion in so he could stop Ganymede. The codes were meant to bring them into the engine room so they could slow the Crucible's engines down and eventually stop them so Orion's ship could catch up. Although wary of Orion's promises, he couldn't pass up a scavenger hunt and together, he and Oliver discovered one half of the clue, while others completed it. Armed with a set of codes, the passengers were released on a newly opened level accessed only on Level 23 where the holo-suites are located. The maintenance level was opened by Ganymede--how he managed to get their without a single passenger noticing him is anyone's guess, but now that they knew where he was and had the codes to open the doors located there, they had a new mission! The Doctor led his fellow passengers into 'battle' so to speak and a team eventually found the door! But! Outside one of the holo-suites near the door to the new level was a little window, and when he looked into it, he saw the blurry images of his home before he even left Gallifrey all those lifetimes ago. Unfortunately, his doing so gave him nightmares the likes he'd never had before. The only reason he examined the window in the first place was so he could help his TARDIS with her own nightmares. If he understood how such things could afflict even her, then perhaps he'd be able to find a way to stop them.

And find a way he did. The door they'd discovered lead to a set of hallways that seemed to go on forever and looped over each other--yet another fun spatial anomaly--and within played an innocuous piece of music that cured the nightmares and made the listener ridiculously happy and, in some cases, forgetful. He had to rescue Oliver from there and locked his friend in his suite with the TARDIS so he wouldn't get into more trouble. The music made the Doctor giddy and very huggy, but the music's effects didn't last too long. Once the music ceased a new area was opened in the form of an anachronistic version of 1930-40's Chicago. To make it even better, in this 'reality', the Doctor was a top mob boss. He and his Girl Friday TARDIS hid from the police while searching for the way to the lift they'd all seen Ganymede enter--as well as Orion, who found a way onto the ship soon after. To the Doctor, it seemed as though their previous efforts had merely been a distraction and weren't actually needed for Orion to come on-board, not since he found his own way there easily enough. Eventually Oliver found the proper doorway to the lift and when he did, the city froze in a flash. They soon discovered another pair of lifts that led up to yet another place that shouldn't have existed in the form of a very red forest. But now they were closing in on Ganymede. He was somewhere in the forest. Where, though, was the question.

It was around this time that someone he thought he'd never seen again had shown up: Donna Noble. He greeted her with very mixed emotions, pretending that all was well, but this Donna was from his past, while they were still together. He'd only told Oliver and the TARDIS what became of her, as well as what happened to leave him as the only Time Lord left in the universe they were all from, but he never let on to Donna that she wasn't travelling with him any longer. He knew how she wished to travel with him forever, but their forever was cut short all too soon. In the spare moments in between yet again weathering the changes affecting the ship, he spent time with her, quickly acquainting her to the ways of the ship and most importantly protecting her as best he could.

As it turned out, the passengers witnessed Orion entering a door after inputting a code of some kind that turned out to be a verbal riddle! He always loves a good riddle, but as has been the overall trend of his plans and actions to effect any sort of change and progress on the ship, he had guessed wrong and had his barcode burnt clean off his hand. The damage was such that his hand was healing properly, the nerve ends destroyed. Fortunately, his wonderful and brilliant TARDIS had guessed correctly and the door was opened, leading them to the elusive engine room at last--as well as Ganymede's body, his head having been smashed in. Poor Ganymede. And somehow, Orion had disappeared--and soon reappeared on Level 1, and their old friend, the black hole, had reappeared as well, and with it their memories of the previous two. Good times. Only not.

Actually...very much not. The nightmare-inducing window anomaly decimated everything in the levels leading from the forest down through the holo-suites, much to his horror. Many passengers had been harmed in trying to answer the riddle, and as the barcode was their only way in to their rooms, as well as the means to purchase food stuffs and, more importantly, for the robot doctor in the hospital level to actually treat them. Without the barcodes, those injured passengers were out of luck. The Doctor had helped set up a temporary medical bay in the forest and those who chose to remain there were all killed when the anomaly swept through the forest. The deaths were only for a day, but that didn't matter to him. He'd gotten those people killed and he was more desperate than ever to reach the lower levels. He had to reach the bridge! And while his fellow passengers were unable to fall asleep, something that took him much longer to notice as he doesn't need much sleep that often, he searched Level 12 for a sign of the passage he'd taken to go down to Level 11 all those months ago. It was all for naught. When the passengers were finally able to sleep, he found himself having to rescue Oliver, with the help of Lyle and Donna, from the Puppeteer, only...this Puppeteer had also appeared in Oliver's rooms along with his family and old girlfriend and subjected Oliver to making him watch as it killed them over and over. Now, for months now, the Doctor had been helping Oliver and showing him that just because Oliver had a bit of darkness inside didn't mean that if he were to return to his family, he'd harm them and this nightmare made the Doctor think all that work was undone, but it showed Oliver it was possible that he'd be able to go home, just not immediately.

Finally, exhaustion having finally set in to his own mind, he allowed himself a couple hours sleep, but while he slept, he was transported back to his room and subjected to his own living nightmare in the form of the Valeyard. However, the Valeyard didn't appear as he had when he met him in his sixth incarnation, oh no. This one shared his face and tried to convince him that this was his future, that the darkness in his hearts and everything he'd done would give the Valeyard a foothold on him sooner than expected. While his friends were able to help him overcome and ultimately defeat this version of himself, he didn't easily forget how close he could be to one day becoming like that.

When next they saw Orion, it was revealed that he was a relation of the Ganymede's. His son. Oh, the Doctor had suspected there might've been a familial relation, and he was proven correct. And speaking of relations, in another shared waking dream, he found himself back inside his proper TARDIS, but oh, that wasn't all. If he stood in the hallway just outside the console room, he could hear the voices of his old companions calling for him to join them in some fun activity. Everybody was there and he could discern each voice--from Lucie, Ace and Peri, to Adric, the Brigadier, Nyssa, Tegan...and oh...he heard his dear Susan calling for him. But he didn't see any of them in the hall beckoning for him to come join them in the gardens, kitchen or any number of places inside the TARDIS. No...he only had their voices, but it was enough. For that brief time, he could imagine what it would've been like if nobody left him. He wasn't alone... The dream had to end eventually and he clung to the warmth it had given his hearts for as long as he could, but in the end, it only made them ache that much sharper.

Unlike the last two times where he frantically fought with a broken console or ship to save the others, this time, he merely tried to find a way to reach at least Level 11 when the ship entered the black hole.

As the fourth cycle started, he found himself in the exact same spot as he had been when the ship first entered the black hole, plus he could remember having gone through a black hole three times now. Blimey, that was a record for him! Thankfully, his barcode had been restored to him and anything lost when the anomaly ravaged the ship was returned to normal as well, but he couldn't help but wonder why he wasn't returned to his normal waking spot. Everything else had been restored. For the first time in a while, he began to feel hope again. Sure, Ganymede was alive again, Orion gone, and he was still stuck on the ship without his proper TARDIS, but things were different and since they started off different, he knew in his gut that this time, he just might be able to win.

Granted, the ship's usual shenanigans started right back up and made all the passengers' thoughts visible above their heads in cartoonish thought bubbles (the passengers learnt that he can several thoughts at the same time), but he ignored them and began a voicemail complaint campaign that he'd continue for the next month and half whenever different anomalies struck the ship and its passengers. The first message he left--or rather the nine-part message--let him air out every grievance he had about Ganymede and his actions, and he warned him the black holes and about the recursive time loops, temporal and spatial anomalies, how Ganymede had died three times before and how he should beware of his son, Orion (and he complained about the size of his voicemail as it took him the aforementioned nine messages to before he was finished with his complaint and that annoyed him a great deal.) Unsurprisingly, his words went unheeded, and in return he was shrunk to a height of 15 centimetres tall--and was only one of two passengers who had been out of everybody. Needless to say, he was livid for such treatment from the ship, but was even more so at Ganymede for asking for advice and opinions--and then throwing it back in their faces. He relied on the TARDIS, who had only been shrunk to a height of two feet, to cart him around the ship. In a way, it was fitting that his ship was the one to do this for him.

At some point, he had her leave him on Level 15, the shopping level, and witnessed Oliver's rapid regrowth and fall to down to the lower levels of the shopping complex. After procuring clothes for himself and Oliver, he called for help, ignoring the voices of his past selves who admonished him in his own way for allowing his companion to get hurt, and together with Lyle, they brought Oliver to hospital where he remained for a couple weeks in a coma.
A distraction in the form of his favourite commander came during that time, giving him something to focus on. He learnt that Orion had no memory of the other attempts to rescue them despite having been at the centre of the last reset, and he convinced Orion not to try the same tactics he'd tried before, warning him that they only led to the black hole and death. His trust of Orion was still in question, but as he was angry with Ganymede for spurning his advice--and Ganymede had seemingly disappeared for a time--he gave Orion his one chance to prove him wrong. And it turned out that Orion spoke with several other passengers. The Doctor threw a party for them all to discuss their findings, having learnt that Ganymede was a voyeuristic bastard and had cameras in just about every inch of the ship, with the exceptions of passengers' rooms and public bathrooms. The party was a huge success!

Then not too long after the party, he discovered that he wasn't in his own body. He was in Donna's, but she wasn't in his. The ship had somehow managed to move his mind into her body and he immediately built barriers around it so he wouldn't burn her mind out. He did, however, become far more acquainted with Donna Noble than she herself will ever know--mostly because he lied and said he didn't look at her body when, uh, he did--and thanks to her, he spent a great deal of his week sleeping of all things. Really though, it was for the best she didn't learn about that. He wouldn't have heard the end of it. But thanks to the switch, Oliver was up and about again! With the added uncertainty that once they switched back, he might turn out to still be in a coma after all. In an interesting twist, it was the TARDIS who turned up in his body. He was glad it was she of all people to have kept his body safe.

After a brief stint as a cat, he found himself in his own body once again and helped Oliver back to the hospital to get him cleared to leave properly this time. Oliver's leg hadn't fully healed, but the Doctor knew he couldn't keep his friend in hospital (Oliver, like all companions of his, had a nasty tendency to disobey his 'don't go wandering off' rule and this applied to remaining in a hospital room, and as far as Oliver was concerned, he wanted out like yesterday), and made sure he didn't do anything stupid to injure himself again. However, the Doctor had missed his friend and on a whim, decided to be a bit of a show-off and brought him to the holo-suites where he introduced Oliver to all of his previous selves, and in doing so, gave Oliver a little bit of closure between him and his fourth incarnation. He nearly broke the holo-suite's computer with every command he fed into it, but the effort was worth it in the end, he felt. It was a nice bit of normality before the ghosts came.

Only, they weren't exactly ghosts, per se. They were after-images of the original passengers on the ship, and for three days, he and his fellow passengers glimpsed scenes involving Ganymede himself, who still was presumed missing, and with each scene the plot thickened. They still didn't have all the pieces, but finally they were starting to get some clues as to what happened before.

It was only convenient enough that the man himself turned back up, very much alive still, and--invited them to dinner. Admittedly, it wasn't exactly what the Doctor had expected, considering Ganymede's past murderous acts, but he got into his tux, was forced to stand in line alphabetically (he didn't have too long to wait, but he was impatient to get into the restaurant so he could finally have words with the man himself. And boy, did he have words with him, this being the turning point, the laying down of the ultimatum. Ganymede's one chance. He offered to help him repair the systems malfunctions so those who wished to remain on the ship would be able to enjoy their time there--and to do so, he'd offered to stay there in exchange of letting his friends go home to their home universes. He was even willing to overlook the misuse of time technology, having chocked the whole thing up to humans playing with things they shouldn't be. But like all of the Doctor's enemies as of late, they took his offer for an amicable solution to their respective dilemmas and spat on it. Disturbingly enough, Ganymede remembered him, though to be fair, the Doctor made every effort to make himself known to pull Ganymede's attentions on him so he wouldn't target anybody else. While the other guests slowly trickled in, he observed Ganymede, watching and listening closely for anything that might be useful later on. But when a little man named Issun, Amaterasu's envoy, asked him about the strange anomalies on the ship and the nightmare-inducing window from the cycle before, Ganymede lost it and initiated an emergency protocol. Every passenger's individual Sphere device teleported them back to their rooms, locking them in.

Not one to be locked in or trapped anywhere for long, the Doctor finally was able to bypass certain protocols in the door devices--thankfully, not everything was deadlocked sealed to him--and managed to free those passengers who wished to be out of their rooms. The ship had been put on lock-down, however, which made travel anywhere difficult and long as they had to pry open each and every single door barring their way. It was during this time that Orion and his volunteers began firing on the shields. They needed a distraction, but few worked to distract Ganymede or convince him to lower the shields. The Doctor knew if they kept that up, their blasts could eventually knock the ship off its course and possibly back into the path of the black hole, so with Oliver, they conspired to trick Ganymede into thinking a young woman was asking for his help, and if there was anything they'd learnt about the captain, it was that he had a weakness for young women, the pervert. But their trick worked and Orion managed to ram a hole into the ship's haul, injuring himself in the process. Unfortunately for everyone on the ship, this action unleashed the security robots in full force and they attacked indiscriminately with their laser blasters, and made recovering Orion and bringing him to sanctuary in Riku's room all the more difficult. But the passengers were tough and while they fought their way through the ship, the Doctor and Oliver set up defences in their hallway, since the Doctor's suite was only a couple doors down from Riku's, and they worked swimmingly! Orion was nursed somewhat back to health and finally...finally the passengers were able to meet with him in person and finally prove that they were real people. The Doctor's own conversation with the man aired a lot of grievances he had over the past year, but in the end, Orion actually managed to win some of the Doctor's trust back. He agreed to construct devices for himself and any volunteers based on Orion's specifications, so they could find a hidden panel similar to the one in the fake forest.

Ganymede, though, had sussed out their plans, proving he was smarter than the Doctor ever gave him credit for, and used a control within the ship to force all the ships that had been attacking the Crucible to fly ahead and into the black hole. Orion, who had maintained through all of their conversations that he would never kill his father, completely snapped seeing that. The Doctor, too, was sent into a rage, both at Ganymede for doing that, and for those who were supposed to be caring for Orion. Orion used his special codes to disappear from sight. Meanwhile, the anomalies that had swept throughout the ship throughout the year struck all the passengers at random. The Doctor was changed into a cat again and even spent time as a woman, but didn't really notice the change--only that long hair really got in the way of his work.

He was, however, distracted from his attempts to activate the security panel on Level 12 when he was struck with the madness that had struck him on Eos. He'd caught a transmission of Oliver's where voices from his past--and most importantly those of Oliver possessed by the Puppeteer--were haunting him and the Doctor tried to "help" him, but only managed to attack him in the end and tried to force a mental link on Oliver, but was knocked away. The madness that had gripped him began to fade and in that state, he admitted that he needed someone to stop him, how Donna had told him that, but didn't want any more companions because they would only get hurt and leave him in the end. Once he was completely free of the paranoia, he apologised and quickly turned the conversation around on Oliver to help him with his voices for real this time and discussed Oliver's decision to travel with him and set some ground rules. In this incarnation, he was more likely to listen to his companion's plea to go home than he was in his fourth. Later, he was further distracted when Olivia reappeared in Oliver's place, but thankfully, he was in better control of himself this time and brought her to the holo-suite for a few hours and flew kites with her. He got to thank her and gave her the proper send-off he should have given her before.

But back to the action! Orion finally cornered Ganymede on Level 3 where it was revealed there was a huge machine behind yet another secret panel. This was the source of all their problems. Just as Orion was about to kill Ganymede, their cries to not kill him somehow got through the rage gripping his mind, and with only seconds to spare, he ordered the ships engines to fire in reverse and bring the Crucible away from the black hole. In doing so, they finally broke the recursive loop. Everyone who had supposedly been sent to their deaths suddenly reappeared on the ship. These were the original passengers. Nobody died, or truly died. The only victim was Ganymede, his mind destroyed by the machine.

They later learned from Orion and the two scientists, Chandra and Anand, that this was the Gate. It used hyperstring technology and essentially, to reach different parts in space, it would create a pocket universe as a short-cut, in a sense. Learning of this incensed the Doctor and he lambasted the scientists for even playing with such things as harnessing the power of a black hole, and told them that even the greatest stellar engineer got himself trapped in an alternate universe--he didn't bother to elaborate and tell them it was an anti-matter universe--thanks to his work with the black hole. And ohhhh, what angered him the most was the decision to test this gate on a cruise ship carrying eighteen hundred passengers, none of whom even knew what lay beneath their feet. He then ordered them to destroy the technology once everyone had been sent home, and Orion said he would.

The passengers from the different universes, his friends, were given a week to say their good-byes. He tried to give a bit of his time to those who meant the most to him, knowing that most of them he'd never see again once he returned to his universe. Especially Donna. He gave her a proper good-bye, though she probably didn't get that that's what he was doing, and took her to the holo-suites. He showed her what Gallifrey looked like long before the Time War. In a way, it was a selfish move of his own, knowing he'd never see it again, and he wanted to burn the image of it's old appearance in his mind. For Oliver, he had a few pints with him at the party he and Lyle threw for their friends and made the promise that when the time came to finally leave, he would repress his memories and store a copy of them in his own mind in case Oliver didn't remember, and when the time came to leave, that's exactly what he did and ushered him to the Gate and sent him on his way.

And for the TARDIS, he took her on a picnic lunch in the Enviro-dome, having purchased foods he liked and wanted her to try, and then took a walk through the forest and then swimming in the lake. He wanted to help her fly again, to somehow experience it in this body of hers, and tried to teach her how to float on water. She got to feel it for a few moments before panicking and getting water up her nose. But it was the thought that counted. He promised her that when they got back, he'd spend time with her and her alone. He knew when he needed to pick Oliver up, that in and of itself was a promise he'd made to his friend--that he'd get to travel again and eventually go home, but he made that promise with her as well and he intended to honour both.

The week went all too quickly, in truth, but he couldn't wait to get back to where he really belonged. He waited for as long as he could to bid good-bye to friends, did what he promised to do with Oliver, and finally went home with the TARDIS.

Once he arrived back in his own universe, it took him a moment for the memories of his time on the Crucible to surface. Most of them did recover. He remembered Donna and Lyle and Riku, Amaterasu and Ame, Sasuke and Lara. All of them--except for Oliver. He'd later figure out that his own mind wasn't ready for a companion just yet because when he originally was taken on-board, he'd resolved to never take on another companion. Months passed and eventually, his memories of Oliver finally surfaced. He knew he had a promise to keep, and so, he arrived right when he said he would. He helped Oliver solve a final puzzle on Gondovan, bid Annajin good-bye, and finally left in the TARDIS.

It must be noted that his time on the Crucible forced him to be in the presence of all those people all the time. Sure, he might've been able to find some corner of the ship to hide and brood, but that wasn't his style. He couldn't escape and so he made the best of it. But he always kept them at just enough of an arm's length away from them, never divulging too much personal information about himself. Very few people were privy to the fact that he was a Time Lord. All in all, the whole experience was a rather tough love method for getting him used to the idea of travelling with a companion again and he thought he might be ready to try it once more.

Oliver was that chance. And in truth, he did enjoy his time with his old-yet-new companion. He took Oliver to Rovil VII, a planet known to have a continent-sized amusement park. He promised to bring him there as one of their first excursions, and they had loads of fun! But the Doctor wanted Oliver to visit Earth again and chose a time very close to when a past version of Oliver had sent an email to his girlfriend, Chloe. However, he chose to bring him to Japan, to Ise so they could pay their respects to Amaterasu. Admittedly, the Doctor had a couple ulterior motives for this trip. For one, he wanted to prove to Oliver that yes, he can go to Earth and surprise! Nothing bad happened. The little piddly bit of darkness in his heart didn't eat him away and make him this blood-thirsty killer. Point one for the Doctor's ultimate "Show Oliver the Universe So He'll Quit Moping and Finally Go Home" plan.

And two, he really did want to pay his respects to Amaterasu, but would do so by visiting her shrine. Unfortunately, the TARDIS landed them in Nagoya. The Atsuta shrine was nice to visit, but his plan was ruined. Still, he made up for it by bringing him to a robot museum. On the way back to the TARDIS, he confessed his real reason for wanting to go to Ise. The walls between the universes were closed, and closed indefinitely. He made it clear that any technology being used to punch holes in the universe and into another would weaken those walls over time--and this is what happened while Donna was with him and the reason why he was so angry at the scientists in the other universe for doing what they'd done. The walls between the universes were intact, but this meant that they couldn't visit their friends in a different universe. Understandably, this upset Oliver, who had made promises to visit, but there wasn't anything he could do. That's just the way it was. It did put a taint on their visit to Nagoya, and much to the Doctor's dismay, Oliver focused more on this--on the disappointment and anger at both the Doctor for not being clearer sooner and at himself for being stupid enough to think that it was possible to visit--than the fact that he had survived his first trip back to Earth and nothing went wrong.

In an attempt to make up for it, the Doctor took him to a planet named Chebi for the last leg of a century's long migration of the caelptera, or sky whales. As he told Oliver, each pod escorted the old ones back to their place of birth, the planet Ginei (where only a small portion of the vast planet was actually made of solid mass big enough to anchor the heavy gases that made up to their natural habitat), so they could die. When they were ready to leave, they'd leave with newborns and young ones and eventually repeat the whole cycle all over again. Chebi was the only planet where anyone could see the caelptera that close. Their song told of loss and death, but of glorious return and renewal as well, but the song itself was even beyond the Doctor's own vast vocabulary to describe. While they watched them flying overhead, he apologised for not only making Oliver believe they could visit their friends from the other universes, he also apologised for not coming back for him sooner. (Of course, Oliver had made him believe he never wanted to travel again, but at the same time, Oliver's possession had happened while he was in the Doctor's care.)

The Doctor also took them to a point in time where this would be one of the caelptera's last greatest migrations before a catastrophe a couple centuries later would whittle the population away into extinction. Only a few races knew of the caelptera's existence, others believing they were merely things of myth like the Time Lords, but only a handful of people in the whole of the universe's history actually went to Chebi and witnessed the caelptera up-close. Anyone who did come there left wanting to keep the secret of such a brilliant sight to themselves--and these were the lucky ones who happened to arrive at that point in the caelptera's journey. Even the Doctor rarely shared it. But he made the point of stressing that while the caelptera would eventually die out, they still continued on. They continued their life journey on up to the very last old one who still made its way to Ginei to die because that's all that mattered. The journey. That was why the Doctor liked them so much. They carried on, they kept going no matter what happened, and that's how he lived (and lives) his life.

And carry on they did, their adventures eventually attracting the dangers that normally found their ways into the Doctor's life. Together, they saved a handful of planets from destruction, even saved the universe once or twice, but deep down, the Doctor could feel their time together was coming to an end. While he enjoyed his renewed travels with Oliver and boy, they had some fun grand old times, something didn't feel right. There was only one time in his life--or so he remembered--that he'd travelled with someone who'd left him, and that was with a woman named Tegan Jovanka. It was rare, even unheard of, for someone like him to meet with past friends, and while he knew why that had happened with Donna, Oliver was a different story. Oliver wasn't the first companion he'd left on a different planet, far removed from those he knew back home and in a completely different time line. Everyone who travelled with him left a different person than the one they were when they first stepped over the threshold into the TARDIS. And to be honest, had they never met on the Crucible, the Doctor may never have went back for him. That's just how it was. His companions come and go, and Oliver had went. It wasn't often, however, that he met with companions who'd left and moved on with their lives. There was a reason for that, well two. He had other things going on, but if he really admitted it to himself, it simply hurt too much to see them again.

But he had made a promise to Oliver to take him away from Gondovan and he'd kept it. It'd been his goal to heal his friend of his fear the Puppeteer had planted inside his mind and that's what he'd set out to do the moment he invited him on-board. Plus he had his promise of finally returning Oliver to his Chloe. Their adventures around the universe proved to the Doctor that Oliver had changed for the better. He'd become Oliver plus, as he'd so jokingly teased him about before. He knew that once Oliver realised that he was healed, he'd ask to go home, so...the Doctor made the choice for him one day. Blamed the TARDIS for their landing near the Bull Ring in Birmingham half a year after Oliver had sent his infamous email to Chloe. The Doctor feigned ignorance and voluntarily walked into a shopping complex--and he, after several centuries of being dragged from marketplaces and shops for many of his female companions' whims, had rarely voluntarily entered such a place unless he absolutely needed something (like new trainers or ties, and on the odd occasion, new brainy specs), especially not some place that in the early 21st century was considered one of Europe's largest shopping centres.

No sooner had he stepped in did he hear the familiar sound of gun fire and the smashing of shop windows. Oliver and him raced through a fleeing crowd and saw several shop dummies come to life. The Doctor immediately knew what he was up against, explaining they were the Autons, and if the Autons were there, then so was a Nestene Conscious. The invasion hadn't been one of the things the Doctor knew about when he chose to come to Birmingham, but he later learnt that it was for the best that he had. Oliver and him had split up, the Doctor leaving Oliver to help protect the remaining shoppers in the centre to escape while he sought out the Nestene. But as the Doctor was confronting the Nestene, Oliver turned up and ultimately saved the day, though the Doctor did a bulk of the work talking and distracting the Nestene while at the same time giving Oliver hints as to what he needed to do.

Once the Nestene was destroyed and the link severed, Oliver brought the Doctor over to the nearby St. Martin's Church where who would be waiting there but Chloe Elliot herself, as well as a couple other of their mutual friends. After a bit of discussion aboard the TARDIS, Oliver did leave the Doctor and made him promise he'd find someone else to travel with. The Doctor merely smiled, hugged him and thanked Oliver for everything he'd done, but he never actually agreed to find someone else. And so he left Oliver in Birmingham, safe and home at last with the girl he loved. The Doctor couldn't have been happier for his friend.

Some time later, still companion-less, he turned up in London, 1851, just in time for Christmas. He met a man who claimed he was called 'the Doctor' and the real Doctor believed this man might have been a future incarnation of himself and spent much of their time together, while fighting Cybershades and Cybermen, trying to jog his memory of past events, like 'not blinking' and Sally Sparrow, as well as past companions, but nothing worked. The Doctor also made mention of his companions and how something always comes up and they'd leave him, either of their own volition or because they'd met someone else--or because they'd forgotten him, but this new Doctor didn't seem to share in his sadness. For a brief moment, he thought and hoped that perhaps this man might even have been fobwatch'ed as he had done to himself before to escape the Family of Blood, but the fobwatch only proved the man's real identity, that of Jackson Lake.

With Lake, he managed to save children who had been abducted, forced to work in a Cybermen plant, and to stop a woman named Mercy Hartigan who was made the new Cyber-controller of a giant-sized Cyberman known as the Cyber-King (and somehow, it had been hiding in the Thames. Really, don't ask.) The Doctor used an infostamp--the same things that had confused Lake's memory and made him believe he was the Doctor--to sever Hartigan's connection to the Cyber-King and ultimately destroyed her and the Cybermen who had used her. The Doctor used a dimension vault, something the Cybermen had used to escape the void the Doctor had trapped them in so long ago at the very end of the Battle of Canary Wharf, and sent the Cyber-King into the Time Vortex where it would eventually be destroyed by the raw power of the vortex itself. After a bit of coaxing, Lake convinced the Doctor to stay for Christmas dinner, but he'd leave soon after, slipping away into the night.

The Doctor never did pick up anybody else or invite anyone to travel with him. Couldn't allow himself to be hurt again. Oliver's recovery had been a positive thing in his life, yes, but it'd been he who initially destroyed his friend in the first place. As he saw it, he was just cleaning up a mess an earlier self had made. Despite himself, he'd grown close to Oliver during their year on the ship and maintained that level of friendship while they travelled together, so parting ways hurt all the more. So, he decided he wouldn't do that again.

He continued travelling, always moving, never stopping. It was while he was setting the coordinates for yet another adventure that he found himself transported back to a universe that he never wanted to see again.


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The Doctor

November 2011

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